Arguably, it is just as important to be able to steer as it is to be able to slow down. For this reason, it is only natural to include some steering exercises on level ground, using cones as the instrument.
Steering exercises for Trial
The variations are endless, and your imagination sets the limit. Below, I will tell you about some of the variations that work for us. It is very easy to set up a track consisting of a number of gates made from cones. We usually start any training we do on level ground by setting up a track like that.
It usually consists of about 10-15 cones (gates) placed in a circle or something similar. This is a good way for the rider to warm up and get into the rhythm of riding.
Remember to switch between riding in the right and left directions. The rider will naturally have a preferred direction, and thus a preferred turn direction. Be mindful of this.
During training, gate sizes can be varied. Make smaller gates to increase the difficulty.
An alternative method is to set up a track with the gates aligned. Place a cone at each end of the track. This cone is for the child to turn the motorcycle around, before riding the track in the opposite direction. The cone gates are placed so the rider trains both right and left turns.
The difficulty can be varied by changing the size of the gates. It can also be changed by staggering the gates relative to each other, making the child take a sharper turn.
Similarly, the distance between gates can be reduced, making the child change its direction of travel more quickly.
Learn how to use the gas.
In my experience, children start out by using the toddle in a very “on/off” way.
Of course, we can help the child, by turning down the top speed on the motorcycle.
It is important, however, for the child to learn how to adjust the speed of the throttle. You can train this by using steering exercises. For some children, it comes naturally when using the exercises, but for others it takes a little more.
We have had good experiences with using a square track defined on the outside with cones. This way, there will be a straight stretch (where the child tends to increase the speed) followed by a sharp 90 degree turn, where the speed must be reduced to keep inside the outside boundary. The difficulty is increased by reducing the turning radius of each turn. Remember to change the direction of travel so you train turning both ways.
The figure-8 exercise
This exercise can be used both as a steering exercise and as a balancing exercise. If you have ridden Trial, you should have done figure-8 exercises many times, and you should still know how to do it – but for good measure, I will go ahead and explain it.
Set up 2 cones and ride figure-8s around them. You may want to define an outside boundary in cones as described in the square exercise.
The figure-8 exercise trains both sides, so you don’t need to change the direction of travel. The difficulty can be changed by making the figure-8s smaller.
Get to it – only your fantasy sets the limit.